Encrotchment With Eddie Gobbo From Jar’d Loose: Week 7

By: Eddie Gobbo Posted in: encrotchment, featured, nfl 2014 On: Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

encr

Q: What’s Meghan Trainor’s middle name?

A: Needsa

Primitive Football God

This summer, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting the dudes from Denver’s Primitive Man. Not only are they one of the dopest, heaviest, most pummeling bands in heavy music right now, but their bassist, Jonathan Campos, wears a Denver Broncos hat in July. Dudes who wear football hats during the offseason are usually pretty hardcore fans. I knew I had to talk some Broncos with him sometime this season. After what happened this past weekend in Denver, I was certain this was the week to hit up Jon.

This past Sunday, with four touchdown passes against the 49ers, Broncos QB Peyton Manning broke Brett Favre’s all-time touchdown pass record (508). I loved seeing it, because I love Peyton Manning. I’ll be the first to admit, though: I actually spent a lot of time disliking Peyton. He crushed my Bears in Super Bowl XLI. It was tough to like the man after that. Even now that he’s wearing a Broncos uniform, I wasn’t surprised to hear that Jon too threw shade at Manning for years before the uniform change:

 “I hated him. Fuckin’ guy knocked us out of the playoffs at least twice. [The Colts] just always beat us.”

It would be an understatement to say Manning was welcomed by the Denver fan base with open arms three years ago. In the mid-2000’s, Denver drafted quarterback Jay Cutler out of Vanderbilt. He put together three good seasons for the Broncos, one a Pro Bowl year. However, there were always questions about Cutler’s leadership. When coaching prodigy and current New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels came to Denver and became their head coach, he turned the Cutler regime on its head. Cutler was traded to my Chicago Bears, and the Broncos got small-armed QB Kyle Orton and draft picks in return.

“That was a weird time for my boys. McDaniels just wasn’t the best coach for us; I’m glad he is gone. Jay Cutler was a horrible QB that had a fluke run one year he was here. I mean, he was a good laugh at in  [local] commercials… (but) he wasn’t a leader.”

(I like Jay Cutler, but whatever).

As you can guess, Orton was hated in Denver, too. I’ll never forget being in Vegas for Orton’s first game as the starting QB of the Broncos–which he won, by the way–and seeing two drunks bros in Broncos gear yelling in unison at the TV image of Orton, “YOU SUCK!!!!!!!!!!” The Broncos drafted a QB the following year in the first round, in theory to replace Orton. His name was Tim Tebow.The drafting of Tim Tebow was a death sentence for McDaniels, and everyone’s tolerance of a punky QB existing in Denver. Enter John Elway as Executive Vice President of Football Operations, and the courtship of Peyton Manning. Two and a half seasons later, Elway’s decision couldn’t have gone more accordingly to plan. Props to Elway and his eternal role in Denver. He is Mr. Bronco. However, with Manning’s success in Denver, it does bode the question of whether or not Elway will still go down as Mr. Bronco if Manning himself wins a championship or two.  Jon thinks so:

“Peyton Manning is a Hall of Famer. I really want him to get a ring. But no one will fill the shoes of Elway. Johnny is the Duke. The King. He started with the Broncos and ended with the Broncos. He took us to Super Bowls we may have had no business in, and won. He may not hold the records [like Manning], but he is the king FOREVER.”

Peyton Manning has surpassed an unbelievable record that he  never should have broken with the cards he was dealt. He not only had to work his way back from what appeared to be a career-ending injury; he had to begin playing for another team, and put up two MVP seasons to get to this point. He defied all odds in doing so. My hat goes off to him.

I’m stoked for Denver’s interdivision clash tonight with the Philip Rivers-led San Diego Chargers. Jon and I both agree that San Diego, like Denver, is a force to reckon with this year.

“This is gonna be a tough game [for Denver]. The Chargers are doing it up this year, no doubt. Its also a short week for us, so that’s’ some B/S. Either way, fuck Philip Cry Me a Rivers. LETS GET IT, DENVER!!!”

Jon’s pumped, and I’m pumped on the new Primitive Man record, Scorn, out now on Relapse .

I Follow Rivers

Now, enough about Peyton Manning. Let’s talk about his the guy he’s going head-to-head with tonight.

I’ll go on the record and say that even though Manning has had an amazing season so far this year — of course anchored by him becoming the all-time leader in touchdown passes — Philip Rivers would still be my MVP this season. Here’s why:

Remember when San Diego’s starting QB was Drew Brees? He destroyed his shoulder and San Diego dropped him for Rivers. Do you think that if the Chargers could go back in time, they’d still drop a future Hall of Famer? The answer is yes. That’s how good Rivers is. He’s the rare QB that can make something out of nothing. He’s been cursed with mediocre coaching, for starters. The Marty Schottenheimer regime killed an amazing Rivers-led team featuring LaDainian Tomlinson in his prime and a Shawn Merriman-led top five defenses. End result, blown playoff games, no Super Bowl berths, and no championships. Since then, the team has literally rode Rivers’ coattails. And why shouldn’t they? Over the years, they’ve lost significant players on the offensive side, replaced them with inferior players, and Rivers still finds ways to get them to produce. Vincent Jackson was, in my opinion, the number one receiver in football four years ago. He went to Tampa Bay and died. He was never replaced on the team with a legit number one receiver. Rivers is currently throwing to Malcom Floyd, Eddie Royal and Keenan Allen. If you put any of those players on the Broncos, they’d be the fourth WO behind, D. Thomas, Sanders, and even Wes Welker. Yet Rivers still finds a way to sling the ball, put up 30+ points a game, and get wins.

Rivers has faced three top defenses thus far (NYJ, Seattle and Arizona). He won two of those three games. He did lose to a KC team fighting for their lives this past week, and may very well lose to the best team in football tonight. If they do, they’ll have a win coming next week against Miami, making them 6-3 at the bye. San Diego’s second half schedule is very difficult, but with Rivers at the helm, they won’t go into any of those games feeling they’re the inferior team.

Lastly, Rivers personal stats do not lie. He’s completing approximately 70% of his passes, and is on pace to throw between 35-40 touchdowns this year, and pass for approximately 4,500 yards. These are beyond MVP numbers. Just staggering.

Are You There, St. Louis-Area Kids? It’s Me, God.

If you’re going trick or treating this Halloween, don’t go to Jeff Fisher’s house. He will trick you EVERY TIME. Just ask Pete Carroll.

Gambling: It’s What’s for Dinner.

I will rarely get political with you in this column. This week will be the exception.

For a while now, it’s been common knowledge that New Jersey governor  (and possibly our next President) Chris Christie (R) has been an open advocate of legalizing sports gambling in casinos and OTBs in New Jersey. This past Friday, Christie signed a bill legalizing sports betting in Jersey. For several reasons, the four big sports leagues (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL) sought an injunction to stop Christie’s legal gambling push, currently leaving it at a standstill.

The legalization of sports gambling would essentially make New Jersey a full-fledged east coast Nevada, and thus turn the East Coast gambling scene on its head. Unlike Nevada, which is a southwest state that is hard to get to, New Jersey is smack dab in the middle of several big East Coast markets. I think it’s safe to argue that legal NJ sports gambling will compel every ready, willing and able football gambler within striking distance of New Jersey to make driving up there every Sunday part of their routine.

I follow the world of football gambling. I make a pick every week against the line (so far I’m 7-0 this season). Now, living in Chicago, I am obviously nowhere near any legal U.S. gambling facility. But I will be the first to admit that there are no shortages of dudes betting, looking to place bets, and looking to take bets out here. This has led me to be blessed with several illegal sports betting-related bedtime stories over the years. Like the time a guy I know tried to call in a bomb threat to a stadium when the team he bet on was losing. Or the time a guy I know placed a bet with a bookie through his friend in Michigan, lost $500, and then decided he wasn’t going to pay because he wasn’t “going to Michigan any time soon.” It all worked itself out. His friend got his ass kicked and his TV stolen.

If sports betting became legal across the board, I’d probably hear less of these stories, which would be a good thing. But I also feel it would lead to a huge spike in sports gambling, which isn’t necessarily a good thing either. Legalization would open up the floodgates for more people working it in to their weekly routine. I’m not sure if you’re aware of this, but the illegal sports betting world on the East Coast is for the most part run by, you guessed it, the Mafia. As fun as it is to deal with the Mafia, the blue collar father of three may not be so quick to place bets with them. They recognize them winning a few hundred bucks isn’t worth the risk of getting busted by the police or getting their head busted by Paul Sorvino if there’s a “misunderstanding.” New Jersey legalization will allow all East Coast sports gamblers to drive somewhere within a couple hours to a state-sanctioned establishment where their bet will be placed in a legit fashion. Something doesn’t sit well with me about this. Call me crazy, but I don’t like the idea of the habitual weekly football gambler having to spend time away from his family to commute to New Jersey on a Sunday in order to place a bet legally. It seems socially counterproductive.

Here’s my ideal sports gambling situation, which I believe is fair for all parties: The U.S. government should either make gambling legal in sanctioned casinos and OTBs in all 50 states, or they should allow legal sports gambling through an online source for people not close to said sanctioned casinos and OTBs. I also think the government should be able to flag certain gamblers as unfit to gamble based on past transgressions, sort of like the gambling equivalent of a DUI. If you can’t afford to lose or gamble responsibly, you shouldn’t have the right to gamble.

That said, here’s your gambling line of the week.

Pick of the Week

Arizona -2 over Philly

Decibrity Playlist: Encoffination

By: zach.smith Posted in: featured, interviews, listen, lists On: Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

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As previously expressed in these pages, the concept behind the new Encoffination record is “the glorification of death: an offering to the embodiment of death’s creation, and to sing the wretched hymns of death’s omnipresence, to kneel to death’s crown as we all shall fall under death’s eventual grasp…If the last record were a tool to teach about death, this record is that creation.” Given the six mentions of death in that pull quote alone and the fact that it comes from vocalist/guitarist/bassist/funeral director Ghoat, it’s not surprising that death permeates his playlist. While most of his picks forgo the death and doom in which Encoffination traverses, the duo’s latest LP, III – Hear Me, O’ Death (Sing Thou Wretched Choirs), provides plenty of that. After you check out his selections, you can pick up a copy of said LP, which dropped on Tuesday, here.

Steve Earle’s “Ellis Unit One” (from 1996′s Dead Man Walking OST)
This is a powerful song about growing up and being confronted with the realities of life and death. I myself am a pretty staunch opponent of the death penalty (this isn’t the forum so I’m not going into it), and “Ellis Unit One” tells a story of a young man being forced to grow up and go to work at the local prison like the males of his family have done before him. The paradox of the men desensitized to the horrors of execution and the emotional burden it creates paints a pretty morbid and real picture. The nightmare Earle sings about in the last verse (“Even Jesus couldn’t save me…he don’t live on Ellis Unit One”) is legitimately scary as fuck. This is one of the darkest songs ever written. It’s haunting.

Townes Van Zandt’s “Dead Flowers” (from 1993′s Roadsongs and 1998′s The Big Lebowski OST)
Townes Van Zandt is in good company with the track above, as Steve Earle has long been very outspoken about the genius of Van Zandt. Hell, not only did he do a album of his covers, he named his son after him. This also being from a movie soundtrack is purely coincidence. “Dead Flowers” is a Rolling Stones song and was buried on Side B of Sticky Fingers. I fucking hate the Rolling Stones and their version of this is not all that great. If there were ever a time someone really made a cover their own, it’s now. Like many of Van Zandt’s song, it’s a story of lament and sadness, self-deprecation and regret. Van Zandt is the pure epitome of a tortured artist and this song portrays that eerily well.

Danzig’s “Going Down To Die” (from 1994′s Danzig 4)
When I was in mortuary college, we had to give speeches one day, with the topic being related to death. I gave some rambling diatribe about death being the penultimate experience of life–it’s the one thing we will all get right one day. Death equals perfection. Everybody already thought I was weird; that sealed it. I ended my speech by reading the lyrics of this song to the class of 90, which was met with blank stares and uncomfortable silence. This is not only my absolute favorite song from 4p (such an unheralded, underrated album), but probably top three Danzig songs. Glenn’s voice is absolutely untouchable (“I’m sayin’ goodbye…” at 2:05 is fucking panty-wetting) and the sullen, ’50s vibe in the main riff is as cold as the band ever sounded. If Danzig ever wrote their homage to a ’50s teenage tragedy song, this is it. I’ve repeatedly told my wife that I want this song played at my funeral–I want to bum everybody out the best I can.

Loss’s “Open Veins To A Curtain Closed” (from 2011′s Despond)
If any band were to be the embodiment of the term “funeral doom”, it’s Loss. They happen to be good friends of mine (vocalist/guitarist Mike Meacham and I also play together in the occult black metal doom outfit Rituaal), but beyond that, this song and album are just gloom incarnate. But whereas some bands of this ilk just drown you in sadness and depression, Loss creates a myriad of emotions with their guitar work, notably the long clean sections employed throughout the middle of “Open Veins…” The coda then almost plays out as a triumphant crescendo as the lyrics tell the story of a life ended and a pain released. Much like the weight of depression can be suffocating to those who suffer it, this song weighs heavy, but as the deed is done and the song moves on, it becomes a burden lifted.

George Jones’ “He Stopped Loving Her Today” (from 1980′s I Am What I Am)
It’s undeniable that this is one of the most iconic love songs ever written, but at its root, it’s a death song. It’s a song about a love ended upon death. The line “All dressed up to go away, first time I’d seen him smile in years” is a reference to the corpse and hits me right in the feels as a funeral director. There’s several little backwards references to the “he” of the song being dead and it’s so morbidly appealing. It’s such a blunt way to illuminate and posture death and ironic it’s done in such a beautiful way. The chorus of this song was my ringtone for years and everyone at the funeral home always got a kick out of it when it rang at inappropriate times. We’ve played this at a few funerals too and I always get a morbid satisfaction out of it, like they’re in on the joke.

*Order a copy of Encoffination’s III – Hear Me, O’ Death (Sing Thou Wretched Choirs) here

**For past Decibrity entries, click here

Streaming: New Decimation track

By: justin.m.norton Posted in: featured, listen On: Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

Decimation band photo 2014

If you are a regular Deciblog reader you’re probably wondering why we didn’t call out the new Decimation track name in the headline. Well, let’s just say it’s a bit of a tongue twister: “Devilish Domain Vortex in the Gloom of Wicked Ziggura.” Wait, what? That’s a verbal flourish that would make Willy Wonka proud. We’ll refer to it henceforth as “the new song.”

Decimation is holding down the fort for technical death metal in Turkey. The song — and boy is it faster than fuck with more than a touch of Suffocation — is from their new album Reign Of Ungodly Creation, the follow to the 2010 release Anthems of an Empyreal Dominion. Decimation has been playing for 15 years; for this release they enlisted legendary metal artist Dan Seagrave to design a 16-page booklet. The album was mixed and mastered by Sasha Borovykh at TsunTsun Productions.

You can touch base with Decimation on Facebook and preorder the album from Comatose.

Sucker For Punishment: A Septuagenarian Stew

By: Adrien Begrand Posted in: featured On: Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

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Metal scenesters have always had a problem with artists that “dabble” in metal. In a way, that’s easy to understand: heavy metal is an all-or-nothing style of music, one whose audience embraces as not only as a diversion but a lifestyle, and they fully expect the same kind of dedication to the music, art, and aesthetic from the musicians. Authenticity and sincerity are key to fans, and when an artist from outside the genre experiments with heavier sounds, the persistently paranoid rabble out there can detect cynicism and condescension from miles away. Never mind the fact that just as much cynicism and contrivance exists within the metal genre as any other form of popular music, but try telling a metal purist that and they’ll respond like a child yelling with its hands over its ears. “LA LA LA, I CAN’T HEAR YOU…

This week is particularly interesting, because contrary to what those who defend metal’s “authenticity” are willing to believe, the two most important new albums are by artists trying their hand at heavy metal-derived music for the first time, in very different ways. Staten Island’s The Budos Band, a mainstay on the outstanding Daptone Records label, has for years excelled at creating an eclectic sound that incorporates everything from deep funk to Afrobeat, but the crew raised more than a few eyebrows when it announced its first new album in four years would be heavily inspired by Black Sabbath and Pentagram, right down to the decidedly metal cover art of a sorcerer (detail pictured above).

Recorded with more focus on guitar and psychedelic effects, but never detracting from the core horn-driven sound of the band, Burnt Offering (Daptone) is sensational in the way it creates a wholly unique environment from the very start. An obvious comparison would be Swedish collective Goat, but unlike that band’s heavily stylized – and stylish – psychedelia, The Budos Band heads into much darker territory thanks to its wicked funk grooves, ominous African rhythms and melodies, free jazz solos, and at the root of it all, that imposing doom sound. It sounds exotic and vintage, but there’s always a modern sensibility afoot, the band taking its already progressive sound into daring, murky territory, embracing a style of music most in the jazz/funk scene either look down upon or completely ignore.

Even more exciting than The Budos Band going all Pentagram on its audience was the announcement that mercurial, enigmatic septuagenarian innovator Scott Walker had teamed up with drone duo Sunn O))) on his latest album. Funnily enough, the idea of a Scott Walker/Sunn O))) collaboration hardly felt like a shock; in fact, it seemed like the most natural of fits. After all, Walker’s last three albums – 1995’s Tilt, 2006’s The Drift, 2012’s Bish Bosch – rank among the most unorthodox pieces of music recorded in the last 20 years, in which the man shedded his pop music past completely, in the process becoming an avant-garde auteur of the highest level. The duo of Stephen O’Malley and Greg Anderson, meanwhile, have stripped the sound of doom metal to its skeletal core over the years, to the point where they’ve completely reinvented heavy music in their own minimalist way. So by that rationale, this marriage between these manic deconstructionists feels like a weirdly perfect match, and that’s indeed the case on the daring, revelatory Soused (4AD).

Walker is no stranger to truly heavy music – The Drift remains one of the most intense, harrowing albums this writer has ever heard – but Soused sees him exploring the sounds of distorted heavy metal guitar for the first time, and what makes the entire exercise work is that this is first and foremost a Scott Walker album, with Sunn O))) playing a strictly complimentary, supporting role. That’s crucial, because with the sheer volume of O’Malley’s and Anderson’s past work, it could have completely overwhelmed Walker’s compositions. However, the guitarists smartly hold back. Aside from the gleefully garish opening strains of “Brando”, which cheekily reference Guns ‘N’ Roses of all things, Sunn O))) allow themselves to be conducted by Walker and manipulated in such a way that those monstrous riffs, as on the foreboding “Herod” accentuate the song rather than dominate.

At the end of the day, Soused is less about the presence of Sunn O))) – crucial as it is – and more about the compositions by Walker, which just like his masterful late-career trilogy, throw pop music on its ear, subverting it, perverting it, resulting in a strange, enthralling, abstract, absurd piece of modern art laced with gripping poetry and wry humor, delivered by that distinct voice of Walker’s, which is not far removed from his singing style from 50 years ago, but couldn’ be farther from “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore”. If there’s one thing that’s missed, it’s the sheer eclectic quality of Bish Bosch, as its wild, varied instrumentation helped make it so unique, but even though Walker and Sunn O))) take a simpler route on Soused, Walker’s longtime collaborator Peter walsh manipulates it all just enough to keep things from becoming too muddled in those metallic guitars. It’s a dream result from a dream collaboration, a very rare case where a meeting of highly creative minds yields extraordinary, extraordinary results. Sorry, 20-something “extreme” metal bands, this 71 year-old is more metal than you.

Also out this week:

Atomikylä, Erkale (Future Lunch): It might not be on par with Oranssi pazuzu’s masterful Velonielu last year, but this cryptic Finnish band follows that same example and does a great job in its own right. Heavily influenced by both black metal, krautrock, and psychedelic/space rock, the band creates extended jams that combine darkness and color to often brilliant effect, relying heavily on steady, hypnotic rhythms, repetition, and improvisation on top of it all. This is a band to watch, one the Roadburn crowd will immediately gravitate towards, and rightfully so.

Bulletbelt, Rise of the Banshee (self-released): If you’ve got a hankering for simple, no-frills blackened thrash metal, look no further than this New Zealand band. Cut from the same cloth as Skeletonwitch, this second album is all about brisk, tremolo-picked riffs juxtaposed with double-time tempos and blasting, led by the ferocious shriek of vocalist Jolene Tempest. Songs like “Numbered Tomb” and “Death Tinted Red” prove to be immensely satisfying, highlighting a very fun album that deserves a wider audience than what the band has on the other side of the world. Listen and purchase via Bandcamp.

Alice Cooper, Raise The Dead: Live From Wacken (UDR): Is this DVD release of Alice Cooper’s 2013 Wacken performance necessary? Of course it isn’t. Is it fun? Hell, yes. It’s a great little memento from his fantastic Raise the Dead tour, which featured Orianthi, his best lead guitarist in decades. A great little purchase for fans.

Amaranthe, Massive Addictive (Spinefarm): This Swedish band’s approach to power metal is so loopy and over the top, I can’t see why you can’t refer to this music as “extreme” as well. Pop-oriented hooks are pushed way, way up to the forefront, Elize Ryd’s vocal melodies steering listeners’ attention away from some painfully rote, Lacuna Coil-derived arrangements. For some reason this band feels it’s necessary to employ two more male vocalists – one who doesn’t sing very well, one who just growls uselessly – but as long as Ryd dominates the music, which she does, this album works just well enough to qualify as a mildly guilty pleasure. In this record’s case, the more upbeat the music (see “Digital World”), the better off it is.

The Body / Sandworm, Split (Thrill Jockey): Chip King and Lee Buford, AKA The Body, are back with yet another new release, this time a split release with fellow Rhode Islanders Sandworm. The Body’s lone track, the 16-minute “The Manic Fire”, is very much as the title implies, a haphazard mess of abstract noise with a little doom thrown in. A decent mood piece, but far from their best work, paling in comparison to the album made with The Haxan Cloak earlier this year. As for Sandworm’s 11 tracks – 11?! – it’s a scattershot collection of half-formed ideas comprised of raw guitar and simple drumming. Kind of like a black metal Black Keys, I suppose. It’s an intriguing idea, and surprisingly the best thing about this release.

Couch Slut, My Life as a Woman (Handshake): It’d be easy to roll your eyes at every hotly-tipped underground band that comes out of Brooklyn if the quality of the music wasn’t so consistently damn good practically every time. Couch Slut is particularly interesting, too, in how the band channels the atonal, grating noise rock sounds of the 1990s (think Jesus Lizard and Harvey Milk), adds a ferocious female perspective reminiscent of the riot grrrl movement, and tosses in subtle touches of doom and black metal to modernize the whole sound. The intensity is palpable, the songs are tremendously engaging, and Megan Osztrosits is a riveting frontwoman. Here’s hoping this superb, provocative debut is just the beginning. Listen and purchase via Bandcamp.

Deep Purple, Live In Verona (Eagle Rock): Recorded in 2011, the mighty Deep Purple play a lively set of classics in Verona, Italy’s gorgeous Roman amphitheater, bolstered by a full orchestra. Granted, this is neither as adventurous as the band’s past orchestral collaborations, nor is the music as intense and jam-filled as it was 30 or 40 years ago, but the old guys still sound great, the tunes are spirited, the orchestra never becomes a distraction, and it’s beautifully shot, to boot. This is well worth checking out, a real pleasure.

Nuclear Perversion, Desolation Rituals (Iron Bonehead): Crusty black metal? Cartoonish vocal histrionics? Hilarious intro track that’s longer than any of the songs? A track called “Fistfuckchrist”? A cassette-only release because that somehow makes it seem all the more “underground”? Check, check, check, check, and check.

Oozing Wound, Earth Suck (Thrill Jockey): A year after releasing the raucous Retrash, the Chicago trio is back with a similarly energetic and fun follow-up that feels like a manic combination of thrash, Melvins, and most of all, High on Fire. Because it’s delivered with sly humor some might mistakenly question the band’s authenticity, but this is some very strong, robust, thrashy sludge that’ll slap a big, dumb grin across your face.

Slipknot, .5: The Gray Chapter (Roadrunner): When your music and image completely revolves around a gimmick revolving around clown masks, banging on garbage cans, and tapping into white adolescent suburban rage, it can obviously be a challenge to sound convincing doing it in your 40s. Six years ago Slipknot sounded well past its prime on the mediocre, fittingly titled All Hope is Gone, a sloppy album crammed with faux-anger and power ballads, and despite being plenty capable of putting on an intense live show, the idea of Slipknot being relevant in the metal world felt like ancient history. But it’s funny what a little adversity can do to a stagnant band. Bassist Paul Gray died tragically young, while the band endured a very ugly split with overrated drummer Joey Jordison, and the surviving members managed to channel all that angst into their new music, and the end result is Slipknot’s most focused, dynamic, and vitriolic piece of work since Iowa. “Lech”, “Sarcastrophe”, and “The Negative One” bridge nu-metal and extremity as well as fans can hope for, but the real revelation is “The Devil in I”, a brilliant single that brings new ideas to the band’s arsenal, allowing singer Corey Taylor to showcase his impressive – and underrated – vocal range. As is always the case with a popular American band, things run a little long, but overall this is a welcome return to form by one of the biggest mainstream bands in the genre.

Woccon, Solace in Decay (Deathbound): This debut full-length by the Athens, Georgia band is a revelation, cut from the same cloth as Katatonia, Swallow the Sun, and Daylight Dies, but already confident enough to create a personality all its own. It’s rare to come across an album by a new band that sounds this assured, and Woccon makes one hell of a statement on this one. Listen and purchase via Bandcamp.

Not metal, but totally worth hearing:

Jessie Ware, Tough Love (Island): The London R&B singer made an unforgettable first impression on 2012’s nocturnal, brooding debut Devotion, and now that she’s on the cusp of stardom, Jessie Ware pulls out all the stops on the follow-up with admirable success. A much wider range of styles is covered this time around, ranging from dreamy adult contemporary (You & I (Forever)”), to trendy modern dance (Dev Hynes’ “Want Your Feeling”), to bland vanilla pop (Ed Sheeran’s “Say You love Me”), and the sole reason this all works is thanks to Ware, who gracefully adapts to each sound, maintaining an even emotional keel throughout, sounding seductive and soulful, especially on the slow-burning highlight “Kind Of…Sometimes…Maybe”. The much more focused Devotion is the superior album, but Ware still weaves an intoxicating spell on Tough Love.

Follow me on Twitter at @basementgalaxy 

STREAMING: Decaying’s “One to Conquer”

By: Jeff Treppel Posted in: exclusive, featured, listen On: Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

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Look at those dudes, hanging out in the forest. Pretty old-school. So’s their music. Some Entombed, some Paradise Lost, and a whole lot of death metal, Decaying bring the pain like they used to in the Clinton era, Finland style. We have the entirety of their new album, One to Conquer, to help darken up your workday. MOSH.

***One to Conquer comes out November 4 on Hellthrasher. You can preorder it here.

Exclusive Video: Hivelords Debut “Soothsayer Worm” Live

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: exclusive, featured On: Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

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Philadelphia-based music photographer and frequent Decibel contributor Gene Smirnov captured the new Hivelords line-up — which includes Lydia Giordano of Surgeon — slaying a new track at Boot & Saddle recently…

Hivelords from Gene Smirnov on Vimeo.

Looks like the follow-up to the excellent Cavern Apothecary is going to be a scary, beautiful, leveling thing, people. Look for it next spring on the underground pride of Philadelphia, Anthropic.

The Deciblog Interview: Paul Di’Anno

By: justin.m.norton Posted in: exclusive, featured, interviews On: Monday, October 20th, 2014

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“A lot has been written and said about me through the years — most of it bad, some of it untrue.” That’s the opening of the 2010 Paul Di’Anno biography The Beast, which reads more like a gritty LA noir novel than a musical memoir. If you were to read the book — a combination of the Mötley Crüe biography The Dirt and the Marquis De Sade — you’d think avoiding Di’Anno was in your best interest. Even if you didn’t, plenty of Internet stories would steer you in another direction.

Di’Anno sang on two of the greatest metal records ever: Iron Maiden’s eponymous debut and the follow up Killers before he was replaced by Bruce Dickinson, in part because of hard living. Three decades later, those albums blow away much of the metal that followed and their place in the Maiden discography is still fiercely debated (yours truly ranks them very favorably). Di’Anno has crafted a solo career and fronted many other bands but his sets still weigh heavily on that timeless material.

When Decibel caught up with Di’Anno in England he couldn’t have been more of a gentleman. He told us The Beast — and the Web — don’t tell the true story about Paul Di’Anno. Join us in a discussion about Jack Daniels and the human voice, the horrors of customs in 2014 and fronting Maiden tribute bands.

How are things going?

I have a little break from touring because that’s all I seem to do. I’m finishing all the lyrics on the new album and hope to have it out by the end of the year. It’s a pretty busy time with new management; I have all kinds of shit going on right now.

Do you ever tire of touring? You’ve done it relentlessly your whole life.

No. I have a bad knee and everything but if I sit at home I have the attention span of a goldfish. I can’t get into it. I haven’t seen my family for such a long time and they are in the states. I can only get over to America when I have a work visa; I’m not allowed over there otherwise from being a bad boy many years ago. I’d love to spend time with my family but I try not to think about it and tour.

Weren’t you thinking of retiring about a year ago because of that injury?

Not really. I’m going to need an operation on my knee. It just keeps getting worse. But some days are worse and some days are o.k. This morning I tripped over a vacuum cleaner and pulled my knee out and it’s all full of fluid. It just happens – it’s a war wound from the road. It’s getting old, really.

What is it like to play and tour with people who grew up with your recordings?

Well, I try not to waste too much time thinking about it because you’d drive yourself nuts. What happened with me is that my plan backfired but it’s also been good as well. Iron Maiden was doing nothing to celebrate (the anniversary of the first album) so I did. And now, people keep booking me for that.

I got to be honest it’s a bit frustrating sometimes because I’m not getting a chance to do my own stuff. I use different bands in different countries so I can bring this to the fans. But I can’t keep doing it forever.

In the states there are countless bands that could do it. We have certain bands in Europe and Australia. I just try not to think about it and get over there. My voice is actually getting somewhat better as I get older and I’m amazed because I don’t take any care of it.

What do you think about where metal is these days? Do you listen to black metal or death metal?

I’ve heard some death metal stuff and it’s not really for me. I grew up with thrash. But the death metal stuff, I find it a bit of a joke. Some of the music is great but the lyrics, eh. If these people did come face-to-face with me they’d shit their pants or run home to their Mom.

When you are performing the Maiden stuff what do fans tell you about it? They are two of the best records and I feel like they sometimes get glossed over in the catalog.

Well, peers like Pantera, Sepultura and Metallica say they are the two best Maiden albums. I think they were fantastic, pivotal albums that set the world on fire. But the way I do them now doesn’t really sound like Iron Maiden. Our sound is a lot heavier. Sometimes it could sound like it’s Sepultura playing it to make it interesting. If I’m going to carry on playing these songs I need to put a bit of a twist on them, y’know?

How do you approach the vocals? You mentioned you don’t take care of your voice.

(laughs) I’m having a cigarette now! This voice was made on cigarettes and Jack Daniels. People overanalyze it like: “I need 20 cups of tea or I’ll cancel the show.” I’ll never do that. I’m just me. On this DVD I hit some amazing high notes and it never happened before tour. When we were on tour in Poland they wouldn’t let us get off stage and we were even singing Judas Priest. It was absolutely hilarious. I gave them the first part of a song and was hitting all the high notes.

What is the DVD project (The Beast Arises) about?

The guys in Poland were brilliant and it was a real pleasure working with them. We starting doing this DVD in a club and it went smoothly and well, which is a miracle. We played about six or eight shows all over Poland. We did most of the Maiden stuff and a few songs from my catalog. It’s a good representation of what I do live around the world. With the Architects Of Chaoz (Di’Anno’s new band) we do the same thing but ease off the Maiden stuff a little, just four or five songs in our set. So I get best of both.

How do you adjust to playing with different bands around the world?

Most of them I’ve played with over a few years. One of my bands is Children Of The Damned and they are a cover band. Sometimes I find it quite funny, like you are really living someone else’s life. It works out fine, though. Most of these guys I’ve done tours with around the whole world and we know each other well.

We’re trying to go to Canada but it could work out better there with work visas. It’s a bit paranoid over there. Since 9-11, I mean, America used to be a joy to go and see. It’s bloody hard work for people to go there. C’mon, in England we got bombed and stuff like that. America is a great country but the bureaucracy is a pain in the ass.

Did you have problems at customs?

All the time. It’s amazing. I’m used to it. When we crossed over from America into Canada there were bloody guns pulled at the border. One of the boys had a knife so he got kept for like an hour. I wanted to go to Canada to see some friends and the same thing happened. It’s just a pain. You need to keep your borders safe but, c’mon, I’m a bloody metal musician, not an Arab terrorist. It can get on your nerves a bit. A lot of European people go there and also think it’s a rigamarole and why bother. Once you get through it’s fantastic but in ways it’s like the Russians who look like they want to kill you every five minutes (laughs).

I can only imagine some of the changes you’ve seen as a touring musician.

I think England has some of the best security of all time but it doesn’t seem so oppressive. I don’t know how to put my finger on it. I’m always so nervous when I fly to America. Even with a work visa I always wonder to what’s going to happen. I do like to get to Miami to see my wife and children.

Have you ever been recognized by a fan at a border crossing?

Oh shit, yeah. About six years we were in Puerto Rico. I arrive in San Juan and it’s a weird place because you get your luggage and then go through security. They detained me overnight and it was very strange. It was weird because half of the guys working security were coming to the concert and it was cancelled. I was sent back home, without prejudice, I might add. They didn’t do their homework but they did take great care of me. I had to stay in a holding cell with some immigrants.

Have you seen the movie Sherlock Holmes with Robert Downey Jr.?

Yeah.

Why is it I’m thinking they leave you alone in a call overnight then come back and Paul has befriended every inmate and is telling jokes?

That’s what happened with those guys! I have to tell you border security in Puerto Rico is awesome. It was a genuine mistake. I was more pissed for the fans. We finally made it there a few years later and it was fantastic.

There have been a lot of stories about you out there about your conviction (for benefits fraud) and your health and you wrote about addiction in detail in The Beast.

How long ago was that? That biography was a long time ago.

If people piss me off they get punched in the face. I don’t fuck around with people. You get some idiots out there and I don’t have the patience for them. So I have a bit of a reputation for saying what I want.

So in many ways you’re the same Paul Di’Anno from Iron Maiden?

A bit older, a bit heavier. I’ve never been someone to take any shit and I’ll come off worse a few times. If people are slagging me off — unless they have a good reason –expect some retaliation.

What songs from the back catalog do you enjoy most playing?

Since Clive (Burr, original Maiden drummer) died I’ve been dedicating “Remember Tomorrow” to him because that was such a blow. It broke my heart. I hadn’t seen him in a long time. I haven’t had a lot of time to grieve. Sometimes it’s really difficult to sing it. I love doing “Killers” and “Phantom Of The Opera” … they run into each other in the set. And we put “Charlotte The Harlot” back in the set recently.

When Clive passed my manager at the time sent me a text and I was stunned. I got on the phone with my wife and told her when was going on. Even now I find it difficult to talk about. I couldn’t make the funeral because I had to fly back to Brazil that day. I wrote a small eulogy, which Clive’s wife read at the funeral. I’m sorry, I can’t talk about it…

What are some of your best memories?

He was a lunatic. Me, him and Dave (Murray, guitarist) always used to go out together. And he was such a fantastic drummer; I think he was the greatest heavy metal drummer in the world. He left me in hysterical laughter most of the time. And he was the ultimate professional.

Are you still living in Brazil?

I’ll never leave. The people are wonderful and I like the weather and I’m a football fanatic, and I mean real football, not what you call football. It pisses me off that you call it soccer. I love the atmosphere. I like Brazil more than any country in the world.

You’ve been at this your whole life. Will you ever stop?

I’m going right to the boneyard — from the stage to the boneyard. It would be awesome to die on stage. But I guess you have to stop sometimes. If the voice goes out I’ll have to think about settling down.

Decibel Magazine 2015 Tour Lineup + Dates Announced!

By: andrew Posted in: breaking newz, featured, the decibel magazine tour On: Monday, October 20th, 2014

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The Decibel Magazine Tour has established itself as the extreme music destination of the spring, bringing metalheads a thoughtfully curated lineup that celebrates the genre’s proud and diverse global legacy. The fourth installment is no different, as Swedish melodeath legends At the Gates join forces with U.S. hardcore heroes Converge and U.K. death/doom supergroup Vallenfyre, with yet one more very special opener to be announced this December.

Last year, Decibel brought you Carcass’s first sustained domestic tour in five years, as the reanimated death metal legends introduced North America to long-awaited comeback album Surgical Steel. In 2015, we’re stoking fans’ salivary glands again, offering the first live taste of death metal icons At the Gates’ incredible 19-years-in-the-making At War With Reality. Presented by Century Media, IndieMerchstore.com, Nuclear Blast Mailorder, Handshake Inc., Lace Music, Deathwish Inc and Profound Lore, the 2015 Decibel Magazine Tour will slaughter the souls of North American concertgoers for 15 unforgettable dates, offering a bounty of extreme trailblazers making their best music right now.

“Super-stoked at finally getting to be part of the Decibel tour!”enthuses At the Gates frontman Tomas Lindberg. “A great mag, with great people behind it! And finally being able to rip out new stuff in front of a U.S. club audience? Sweet! The bill looks amazing, too! The most relevant hardcore band on the planet and the fiercest old-school death metal band on the same night as us? Excited!”

Four-time Decibel cover stars Converge continue to not just push, but outright obliterate the boundaries of extreme music, most recently with our favorite album of 2012, All We Love We Leave Behind. “We are excited to be part of this fantastic and diverse tour,” says frontman Jacob Bannon, who designed the tour logo and art. “For me, At the Gates are one of the most important bands in contemporary heavy music. It will be an honor to tour the country with them.”

Boasting present and past members of Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride and At the Gates, old-school death-dealing supergroup Vallenfyre can’t wait to debut songs from 2014’s critically acclaimed sophomore stunner, Splinters. “This will be Vallenfyre’s first U.S. tour, and what a tour,” beams frontman Gregor Mackintosh. “I think this is the most diverse and exciting bill of any metal tour I have seen this year. Great to be a part of it. We will be injecting some British filth into your unsuspecting American ears. Cheers.”

We know you can’t wait to GO to war with this lineup either, so here’s your chance to score a great deal and avoid standing in line. There will be a number of VIP premium packages available in each market, providing you with a limited edition T-shirt, 18 x 24 tour poster, “Skip the Line” pass, exclusive digital tour issue of Decibel Magazine, a coupon for 15% off a purchase on Indie Merch’s webstore, and free digital sampler from Century Media. The price of this package is less than you would spend on a ticket and a tour shirt at the show! More details, including ticket info, are available at www.decibelmagazinetour.com

2015 DECIBEL MAGAZINE TOUR DATES

Friday, March 27            Los Angeles, CA            The Wiltern

Saturday, March 28        San Francisco, CA        The Regency Ballroom

Sunday, March 29           Portland, OR                   Roseland Theater

Monday, March 30         Vancouver, BC               Commodore Ballroom

Tuesday, March 31         Seattle, WA                       Showbox at the Market

Thursday, April 2            Salt Lake City, UT          The Complex

Friday, April 3                  Denver, CO                       Summit Music Hall

Saturday, April 4             Lincoln, NE                      Bourbon Street

Sunday, April 5                Minneapolis, MN            Mill City Nights

Monday, April 6               Chicago, IL                       House of Blues

Wednesday, April 8        Toronto, ON                     The Phoenix

Thursday, April 9            Montreal, QC                    Metropolis

Friday, April 10               Boston, MA                        Royale

Saturday, April 11           Philadelphia, PA              Union Transfer

Sunday, April 12              New York, NY                  Webster Hall

 

Hails to our partners!

www.centurymedia.com

www.indiemerchstore.com

www.nuclearblast.com

www.handshakeinc.com

www.lacemusic.com

www.deathwishinc.com

www.profoundlorerecords.com

 

Armand Majidi (Sick of it All) interviewed

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, interviews On: Monday, October 20th, 2014

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** Decibel Hall of Famers Sick of it All know what it’s like to persevere. They’ve been around longer than most of us have been alive, toiling in the unsteady waters of hardcore/punk like strongmen of the Five Burroughs. Well, the legends have returned in the shape of new album, Last Act Of Defiance. It takes the Koller brothers and the rest of Sick of it All back to the group’s roots, the classic era of New York hardcore. Read on as drummer Armand Majidi rifles through our questions.

This new album, Last Act Of Defiance, is a return to the classic New York hardcore sound. Why go back to that sound at this stage in Sick of it All’s career?
Armand Majidi: We try to vary the songs we write, and therefore albums are also varied. If this one sounds like we’ve come full circle, then it’s because it’s still us writing the music, and we want to play to the strengths of the genre.

What is hardcore/punk to you?
Armand Majidi: It’s aggressive folk music that comes from passion and the gut, and the more honest and humble the musician, the better the song. It’s one of the only genres where technical musical genius doesn’t mean a better delivery. Anyone can be a part of it, as long as their heart is in the right place.

What was it like writing Last Act Of Defiance? Pretty easy or did you find yourselves searching for inspiration?
Armand Majidi: Every artist goes through dry spells, but this wasn’t one. I remember having much harder times with songwriting back in the ’90s. We write about frustrations a lot, and the world seems to always throw plenty of those at us. Maybe it’s because we’re older and have a keener sense of the matrix, but the blatant alliance between world government and media has given us a wealth of issues to draw from.

I hear there are guests on this record. Who are they and what did they do?
Armand Majidi: Joe from Wisdom in Chains makes a guest vocal appearance on the song “Facing the Abyss.” He’s got such a strong voice and sense of melody, that he adds a lot to whatever music he makes.

What happens first in Sick of it All? Lyrics or music?
Armand Majidi: Music. If there ever have been lyrics written beforehand, they’re always altered to fit an existing piece of music.

Sick of it All has always been about message. Do you think kids these days have unfortunately acclimated to the messenger, like Sick of it All?
Armand Majidi: It’s hard to say who the “kids” are nowadays. We see a lot of loyal fans who still come to our shows and understand everything we do. There have always been bands that deliberately write shallow, meaningless lyrics, which appeal to shallow people, or funny lyrics that appeal to the willfully ignorant. If it seems like we’re one of the only bands left seems indignant and discontented with the big picture, then music around us has stopped being revolutionary.

You’ve recorded with Tue Madsen before. What is it about Tue that makes you want to go back?
Armand Majidi: Not only do we get along famously, but he has always understood how to capture the band’s intensity in the quietly controlled, less-than-intense studio setting. It was always difficult for us to find an engineer who could capture our live sound before meeting Tue, so now that we’ve found him, he’s our guy.

Why did you record in New York this time?
Armand Majidi: We wanted to stay close to our families, now that three out of the four members have children.

What do you want fans to walk away with after hearing the new album?
Armand Majidi: I want them to feel that they just heard a hardcore record that has everything, from blistering speed to bouncing groove, to heavy and pounding to bright and melodic. I want them to see that there’s nothing stale about our energy.

What keeps Sick of it All going for all these years? Think you got another 10-15 years in you?
Armand Majidi: Who knows? It’s almost like the world has made us what we are, and not the other way around, so it’s more up to the world than to us. If we can continually provide a positive influence on crowds and future music, then why stop?

** Sick of it All’s new album, Last Act Of Defiance, is out now on Century Media Records. It’s available HERE on CD, vinyl, and in bundles with a t-shirt. Raise up!

Fight Amp Studio Report, Part II

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, gnarly one-offs On: Friday, October 17th, 2014

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By Mike McGinnis

Positive and negative. Quiet and loud. Angst and ease. Can’t have one without the other.

This is a primary concept we’ve been working with on our new record and trying to incorporate as much contrast as possible in both the sound and the themes without steering too far from the sound we’ve previously crafted for ourselves. As much as we’re using this theme to our advantage, it’s bound to come through in the studio process. There are sessions that are easy as pie, and ones that send you home rethinking all of your methods.

We re-entered Gradwell House Studios after a couple week layover to clear our ears. We previously had finished all of the instrumental tracking, and I just had to go back in to track all of my remaining second guitar tracks and a few accent tracks for noise and leads and some other small nuances.

The guitar tracking was cake, and usually is, as the pressure is off and once I get a good tone dialed in I can blast through the songs in just a few hours max. My secondary guitar rig looked like this: Gibson SG > RAT > MXR Micro Amp > Musicman HD150 > Marshall 4×12 / Peavey Classic 100 > Marshall 4×12. Pretty basic tube amp rig through 12″ speakers. Sounded killer.

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Another short layover, and we returned for the most trying process on any Fight Amp record; the vocals. We’re consciously trying to move our vocals into some new territory with this record, so we demo’d the vocals and have been working every week in the space since well before tracking the music to lock in the exact patterns, melodies and harmonies we expect to hear once we’re in the booth.
We also used a technique we haven’t in the past and are running a second vocal track through a guitar amp to get some natural distortion and reverb in our headphones while tracking to give it a feel similar to a shitty practice space PA system, which is right in our wheelhouse.

Once we hit the first vocal session, it was obvious that it all had paid off, as Jon in particular, who writes most of the lyrics and patterns and does most of the vocal heavy lifting, was able to belt out a couple of our A side tracks pretty easily, and hit a comfort zone that he probably hasn’t hit before in previous sessions. I got in there and finished up one of my main vocal tracks and did backups on the ones Jon had sung and also had a pretty easy-going session, and after 6 hours we had wrapped up 3 of the 8 songs we’re working on. Definitely a productive outing, and the end product is something we’ve never been as stoked on vocally for this band.

After taking these home and sitting on them for another week, we entered Gradwell again to continue the process. This time we invited two ex Fight Amp members, Rebecca Burchette (who played and sang on our first LP ‘Hungry For Nothing’, and now plays in Multicult) and Patrick Troxell (who sang on our first 7″ and now plays in Creepoid) to hang out and contribute some vocals to a couple songs.

It was awesome getting everyone together and having them contribute. There guys are still family to us, and this was the first time we had this group of five people in the same room in a long time. We’re huge fans of both bands these two play in these days, and in fact, Creepoid was just visiting Philly for a few days after completing an 80 day tour, and we were somehow able to line up the schedule to get Pat in to contribute before they split for their new hometown, Savannah GA.

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So needless to say, both Pat and Rebecca killed it. We got exactly what we needed pretty quickly, had some beers and caught up, and then got back to work on the main Fight Amp vocals. But like I mentioned in the beginning, you can’t have an awesome session without knowing the struggles of a rough session, and now was the time for us to hit a few walls. Jon had some trouble singing the next song the way he wanted, so we moved on before we dug in too deep. Dan and I were able to complete our short parts in that same song, and then we sent Jon back in for another song, but he was having the same issues. Just not getting the right energy, performance or pitch.

Jon decided to cut himself out of the session and just pick up on the following one, and we were able to get a few more of my vocal tracks done. But even at the end of the session, we moved to one of my main vocal songs and I could not find the right way to sing it after spinning our wheels all night long. We started to get past midnight and had been working all night, so exhaustion was setting in and was getting harder to focus. Of course we found the proper approach for this song right as we ended the session, which should make it one of the easier songs to complete next time through.

So with the good comes the bad, and hitting walls vocally is something this band is certainly used to and is actually a productive thing, as we now know what DOESN’T work and basically have the exact method that needs to happen next time honed in. The next session should wrap us up vocally, and we can finally get to the mixing sessions that we’ve been so anxious to reach so we can start showing everyone what we’ve had up our sleeve. Stay tuned.

** Fight Amp’s new album is out Spring 2015 on Brutal Panda Records. Keep your limbs peeled for pre-orders and other cool announcements.